12:08am Saturday 22nd December 2012
© Press Association 2014
Hart in Hampshire has clung onto its crown as the UK district with the best quality of life.
The idyllic district centred on the town of Fleet beat long-term winner Elmbridge in Surrey for the second year running according to Halifax's annual Quality of Life report measuring employment, health, life expectancy, crime rates, weather and house prices.
The survey shows districts in South East England to be increasingly more desirable, with 30 districts in the top 50, up from 27 last year. Tunbridge Wells, Wokingham, Waverley, Chiltern and Sevenoaks are all in the top 10.
There are just six areas outside the south in the top 50 - Rushcliffe in Nottingham (22nd), South Northamptonshire (30th), Rutland (36th), Solihull in Birmingham (42nd), South Kesteven in Lincolnshire (46th), and Harborough in Leicestershire (47th). Nowhere in North England, Scotland and Wales made the grade.
Hart, in the north-east corner of Hampshire, has been dubbed "a step back in time", with 84 square miles of green wooded landscape and Hampshire's largest freshwater lake.
Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: "While not necessarily being the leading district across all measures, Hart comes out on top because it scores consistently highly across nearly all indicators. In particular, Hart residents enjoy good health, high employment, low crime, and high quality schooling."
The study shows Hart residents can expect to live longer than the average Briton, with the average life expectancy at 81.7 years for men, compared to the national average of 79.
Employment in Hart is well above the national average (70.2%) at 78.6% and crimes rates are among the lowest in the country.
Elmbridge in Surrey, known locally as "Britain's Beverly Hills", topped the survey in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and still has higher weekly earnings at £1,162 than Hart's £830.
Wokingham held the title for a year in 2007 only to be toppled by Elmbridge once more.
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